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Georg Herwegh

Georg Herwegh was born in 1817 in Stuttgart. His father was an inkeeper. He started studying theology but had to give up his studies and worked as a journalist and translator. He had to flee to Emmishofen, Switzerland in 1839. His "Gedichte eines Lebendigen" were published in Zurich between 1841-43. Even though instantly banned in Prussia, they were extremely succesful. During a trip to Germany the Prussian king granted him am audition but made him leave the country again. In 1843 he went to Paris; the second part of "Gedichte" was published. During the failed German revolution of 1848 he and a group of German emigrants went to Baden on a military mission; it was however a failure and he had to flee to Switzerland once again. He lived in Zurich; after an amnesty he moved to Baden-Baden, Germany. Herwegh wrote songs for Lasalle's Worker's Society and the Social Democratic Worker's Party. In 1877, "Neue Gedichte" was published. While other poets such as Ferdinand Freiligrath gave up their revolutionary politics later on, Herwegh never changed his revolutionary outlook and his commitment to radical democracy. He was disappointed by and criticised Prussian nationalism and Bismarck's war against and annexion of Alsace-Lorraine in 1870/71. In Herwegh's mind, poetry is a first step towards political action, it should however not be artless. Consequently, he - like Heinrich Heine- defended Goethe. He died in 1875.